UC Irvine 2
Just when the No. 2-ranked UC Irvine men’s volleyball team was starting to gear up for a late run at a regular season title, the No. 1-ranked Pepperdine Waves washed away much of UCI’s momentum with a thrilling 3-2 (28-30, 30-20, 30-25, 22-30, 15-13) win on Saturday, March 31 at Firestone Fieldhouse.
The loss snapped a season-high 10-game winning streak for the Anteaters and pushed their record to 22-4 overall and 15-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
The top ranked Waves have all but clinched the MPSF regular season title and have now won 18 straight games to push its record to 21-1 overall and 17-1 in the MPSF.
After UCI won the first game, Pepperdine captured both the second and third games. UCI rallied back from a 2-1 game deficit to tie the match at two games apiece. In the fifth and decisive game, the Anteaters took an 8-7 lead before giving the game away to Pepperdine with a flurry of errors, specifically in the serving game.
With Pepperdine leading 13-11 in the fifth game, senior outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky landed a kill before committing a service error to push the Waves lead to 14-12. Senior middle blocker David Smith smashed his 14th kill of the night to cut the UCI deficit to 14-13.
Facing match point, Smith sealed the victory for the Waves as he committed the last of UCI’s 25 service errors in the game, six of which came in the crucial fifth game.
‘The last five points